Greenpeace pushes veteran activist under the bus

The Greenpeace Nazca lines fiasco only exposes it further. After delaying handing over names of the activists who were involved in the letter-spreading activity, Greenpeace now gives the Peruvian government just 4 names in a secret report. The initial Greenpeace excuse, if you remember, was that it did not know who took part in the activity, and that it needed time to contact each of its 27 subsidiary bodies.

Now the green group has changed tack, submitting the names of only four, claiming the whole activity was a ‘rogue operation’ run by Wolfgang Sadik and his boss Martin Kaiser — an excuse that is wholly implausible and unlikely given that it was fully poised to exploit the action for publicity and fund-raising. Greenpeace further launders such notions as (i) several people in Greenpeace advising against the activity (not impossible but implausible, and immaterial), (ii) Greenpeace decided on the operation after reaching Peru (laughable, considering the logistics and planning including GIS layouts, and such assets as colored bricks and matching t-shirt attire)

The utter untruthfulness involved is evident from what Mark Hertsgaard appears was told by Greenpeace (emphasis mine):

Sadik and his team went ahead with the action even as others in Greenpeace strongly advised him against it, Townsley confirmed. “The decisions were taken by those responsible while they were in Peru.  At that point, there was no recourse back to Greenpeace International in Amsterdam or Greenpeace Germany in Hamburg. … Certainly there are many people [within Greenpeace] who think that our internal processes weren’t followed properly and if they had been, this activity would have been caught and stopped.

Compare the above to what it declared on Greenpeace Netherlands’ website:

…Yellow Colored stones holding the letters in place. Once the aerial photograph is taken, they extract the substances letters away again, without equipment behind. A GIS system enabled them to lay everything on the right place. The preparation of this action lasted about four months. Every step was carefully calculated.

What does one do in the face of such duplicity?

What’s worse, of the names submitted, Greenpeace exonerates 3 of the 4 people, shifting all blame on Wolfgang Sadik:

Neither Kaiser, Wiedemann nor Fernandez were involved in “the design or the delivery of the Nazca Lines action,” Townsley said, adding that Sadik was “the principal architect and coordinator, and he himself has volunteered that information to the prosecutor.”

In effect, Greenpeace is pushing one of its veteran activists under the bus. Is Greenpeace trying to protect higher-ups in its renewable energy campaign wing from the fallout and consequences? Absolutely. By its own admisison, this was planned over a long period and it is extremely unlikely none other than Sadik knew about it at Greenpeace.

Young environmentalists should be extremely wary of joining such an organization.

The EDF vs Brazil

Dear Brazil

Have you heard that environmental pressure group EDF is criticizing your choice of ministers for agriculture and science? It has compared them to Holocaust deniers. Apart from EDF’s right to criticize sovereign governments (none) and potential benefits to Brazil if you followed its wishes (none), I’m sure there are good things to come from toeing EDF diktats.

Here’s the list: pressure groups would no longer call minister Katia Abreu ‘chainsaw queen’ (what a relief that would be). Science minister and communist Aldo Rebelo would no longer be called a ‘hard-core tea partier’ (a bigger ignominy lifted). Additional benefits? You can look ‘in touch with modern science’ (oooh) and not look ‘really provincial and silly on the world stage’ (how backward would that be).

Commie Rebelo in particular…does he know this is the 21st century? Why is he stuck with ideas from ’19th century Karl Marx protégé  Friedrich Engels’? ‘Government’ is no more, the rage is ‘governance’. Now, countries give up rights to NGOs under ‘shared governance’. Otherwise, the ‘international community’ might ‘roll their eyes and cringe’.

You know, EDF is a model organization. They helped BP set up their ‘internal carbon-trading system’, they accepted millions of dollars from Michael Bloomberg to greenwash the dangerous and controversial technique™ called fracking and published prop papers in PNAS supporting fracking. The latter dangerous and controversial technique is called ‘frackademia‘. Take a look at this article: it appears in Desmogblog and Tenney Naumer reproduces it.

When Naumer links to an item, you should know you’re in trouble.

Does the EDF-BP link bother you? EDF is a pioneer in ‘partnership with industry model’ of environmentalism – i.e, sleeping with the enemy. Isn’t it funny they’re jumping on Abreu for the same thing? Other big gun green groups followed EDF: Sierra Club with Chesapeake Energy and National Audobon Society with Monsanto. EDF itself has gotten in bed with McDonalds and Fedex (more evil corporations).

Did you know EDF collected donations from Walmart – the evil corporation that probably has more branches than the Amazon has trees?

By the way, did you know environmental groups were themselves ‘rolling their eyes’ at EDF’s ‘modus operandi‘? You criticize EDF you chase donors away (who likely roll their eyes as they run) (emphasis mine):

Of course, everyone in the environmental movement knows that this is EDF’s modus operandi. In fact, for years, public interest advocates have rolled their eyes and complained to one another in private about how EDF undercuts their work time and time again. But, everyone is afraid to speak out because they might upset funders, who are turned off by disagreements among environmentalists.

One large circle of eye-rolling, isn’t it?

Wait till you hear from anonymous former employees – the horse’s mouth. EDF, we are told, takes lots of money from US Republicans (evil), but has a ‘partisan management’ that is protective of ‘Democratic interests’. Check this out: in a bout of self eye-rolling, EDF employess ganged up and refused a vacation spot…because Pat Robertson owned a stake.

Most sadly, EDF management caved go the fascist voices on staff who refused to attend their annual retreat because it was being held at a beautiful hotel complex with a pro-American theme where Pat Robertson had a small stake in ownership.

Best wishes,


Is there a force-field preventing countries from becoming ‘strong low-carbon economies’?

This post grew from reading Ruth Dixon‘s excellent posts on the relationship between CO2 emissions, national wealth and climate, one of which is on her ‘Dixon’s Diamond Law‘. Ruth is focused on a more climate-centred perspective; however, her first post carries a graph from the UNEP that is shown below (Figure 1):

Infographic - Bubble Chart - per Capita

Figure 1

From the above, the linear relationship between GDP and CO2 emissions (both per-capita and on a log scale) is immediately obvious. But can we learn anything more? That was my question.

The same graph is shown below from Gapminder (Figure 2), only simpler – each dot is a country.


I drew an imaginary straight-line in dashes as shown. What is evident here (and in the UNEP graph) is that there are no countries in the wide area below and to the right of the imaginary line.

This is the space climate alarmists, the IPCC, Greenpeace, and now the latest in line, the Vatican want the world to be in. They would like to push as far to the bottom, and right, as possible – one where is wealth is intact and CO2 emissions per capita are low. Even any rightward push (i.e., increased wealth) is no absolute, the downward push (reduced CO2 emission) is paramount. They want to save the climate.

But you can go to Gapminder and examine the live version of the graph. The animation runs from 1960 to ~2011 and the invisible barrier should become well evident. Countries bounce along this parapet, pottering up and down or sideways but almost none cross it. There are no countries in the bottom-right area, say where $10,000 GDP/capita and 0.1 tonne CO2 meet (the spot marked ‘X’). Nor are any for miles in the wide swathes around it.

Clearly, this reflects some fundamental property. High wealth-for-low energy is a desirable target even for those unburdened by weighty climate concerns but this is simply not attained. The sheer emptiness of the region in the graph should give reason to pause, particularly to fantasy-prone and fretful physics professors. This is not a space where nations exist.

But, the picture above is not complete. What about the handful of countries close to and to the right of the dashed line at the top of the cloud of points? By re-plotting the graph with the x-axis (wealth) linear (Figure 3), the nature of the ‘invisible barrier’ and its exceptions become clearer:


Figure 3. See text for ‘A’ and ‘B’ countries.

The ‘barrier’ now shown as a solid line has a vertical portion ‘A’. Countries are stacked one above the other, starting from very low CO2 emissions/capita of 0.04 ton up to ~2 ton. Then there is a horizontally oriented segment ‘B’ where countries are more variable in CO2 emissions (between 4 and ~12 ton/capita roughly).

Again, take a look at Gapminder’s live version. Countries climb up along A – their CO2 emissions/capita goes up but GDP doesn’t budge much. The stack moves through emissions more than two orders in magnitude without change in GDP. ‘A’ is acquisition of infrastructural capacity and sophistication and maturity of political forms. Crucially, ‘A’ is diffusion of the capacity to emit CO2 throughout the population.

After about ~2 ton, the ‘barrier’ starts yielding. There is growth in GDP without increase in CO2 emissions. Countries roughly between 4 – 10 ton break the rightward shift barrier: in ‘B’ there are substantial increases in wealth without increases in CO2 (Figure 4).


Figure 4. India and China exemplify the ‘A’ stage where there is growth of CO2 emissions without much concomitant increase in GDP/capita. Portugal represents the transition from ‘A’ to ‘B’. Japan and the United States show significant increases in GDP along ‘B’ during 1960-2011 with their respective peak CO2 emissions occurring in the mid 1970s (at relatively higher levels compared to others, at 9 and 19 ton CO2, respectively)

Countries along ‘B’ are the the ones to the right of the dashed line in Figure 2. These are mainly European nations, the United States and Japan (Figure 5). Per-capita increases in wealth occur along B, only at the top-end of A. i.e, after attainment of a certain capacity to emit CO2. There are no exceptions.

Secondly, most ‘B’ countries employ significant nuclear power. Deployment of substantive nuclear power only occurs along the ‘B’ curve; with the exception of India and China, there are no countries in ‘A’ with substantial nuclear deployment.


Figure 5. GDP trajectories from 1960 through 2011 for European countries is shown. The starting point for the data as evident in the country labels is quite variable. Nonetheless, the rough trend in Europe is along ‘B’ – increase in GDP without increases in CO2 particularly after the early 1980s (marked by red arrow). US is shown in yellow


Analyzing national wealth and energy use is not straightforward. But surprisingly, there is a clear conclusion to be drawn—the low-carbon-high-wealth or even the low-carbon-moderate-wealth country does not exist. It has not existed to date. Dissociation between wealth and per-capita CO2 occurs only at the higher end of per-capita CO2. Importantly, contrary to portrayals of ‘decarbonization’ of economies as an universal good (Roger Pielke Jr), reduction, or more precisely a lack of increase in CO2 with GDP is possible only at the higher end of per-capita CO2. It appears one needs to go up in order to come down.

The Greenpeace ‘Archaeologist’

When the Nazca lines fiasco broke, Greenpeace’s response was to assure the world it worked with an archaeologist, taking every possible precaution:

Questions arose immediately:

Peru’s deputy Minister of Culture Luis Jaime Castillo went so far as to say the archaeologist was ‘the person you have to identify’

An archaeologist was identified in a New York Times report of the incident. It named Wolfgang Sadik, an ‘archaeologist-turned activist’ who we were told had ‘set aside his studies to work for Greenpeace’. The NYT relied on a Reuters video to relay how Sadik seemed to be directing ‘some of the other activists’. It quoted photographer Rodrigo Abd:

“The archaeologist explained where to walk and where not to walk,”… “There was a great concern not to even leave a mark of your shoes on the ground, and if a rock was moved put it back in its place.”

The article further quoted Wolfgang Neubauer of the University of Vienna who informed Sadik was his doctoral candidate and had ‘put off his studies to work with Greenpeace.’

This blog will show there’s more than what the New York Times let its readers in for.

Far from being a consultant archaeologist, Wolfgang Sadik is a committed long-time Greenpeace activist who has conducted several campaigns for the organization including some in leadership positions.

Sadik’s recorded Greenpeace activism appears to begin over a decade ago in 2003 when he appeared in Tuwaitha, Iraq near Baghdad as a ‘Greenpeace spokesman’. He was part of a 6-member Greenpeace team that measured radiation and radiation sickness at sites where looted material from the Tuwaitha nuclear facilities had made their way.

In 2007, Greenpeace planned for a symbolism-laden stunt at Mount Ararat near Turkey. Sadik was the leader. Battling skepticism within Greenpeace (‘too sentimental, too American, not serious enough’) Sadik pushed plans for building a boat-shaped ‘Noah’s ark’ structure on the slopes of the mountain to coincide with a G8 summit at Heiligendamm.

Greenpeace Ark – the brainchild of Wolfgang Sadik. (c) Norman Grant

In one respect, similarities between the Nazca stunt and Greenpeace’s Ark are striking. As the team ‘action coordinator’ he reasoned:

 The Ark was an available and widely-known symbol, so why not use it?

The ark project was successful in attracting month-long ‘international media attention’ (Greenpeace criterion for success); the source article reports Sadik thought the stunt ‘had had the biggest impact of any campaign Greenpeace had ever created in that part of the world’.

In the period afterward, Sadik appears to have shifted to archaeology, working with Wolfgang Neubauer on archaeological excavations in Hallstatt, Austria. A 46-page glitzy pamphlet produced in 2008 highlights his work on the site. It is not clear when he stopped in archaeology.

In February 2011 Sadik surfaced in Fukushima, Japan, once again measuring radiation levels. This time, Der Spiegel was laundering Sadik’s views as a ‘Greenpeace expert’ as it warned of a possible reactor meltdown. He was already back with Greenpeace earlier in the year: in January he was in a round-table discussion with host Reinhard Ueberhorst in his capacity as Greenpeace’s ‘Energy 2010 campaign manager’. Last year Sadik took part in another ark building projectArche2020‘ as ‘project coordinator’ from Greenpeace Germany.

From the above, it is evident Greenpeace performed little to no archaeological due diligence in planning their Nazca act. Instead of employing external and independent expertise, it went with what was available inside, using wrong advice from an activist member as cover for its actions. It is not known if other archaeologists were present in the Greenpeace team.

UPDATE: DGH (@Bioreducer) points out Sadik’s involvement with Greenpeace goes further back, with a 1997 report of a Greenpeace ‘Genetic Hazard Patrol’ chaining itself to a ‘tanker truck containing 35,000 litres of genetically engineered soya oil’ in Rotterdam, which likely included Sadik.

[minor edits]

Tol’s American Interest article

From Climate Mobilization website

From – they want to you impress you by showing these pictures.

Economic damage from man-made ‘climate change’ is illusory whereas damage from man-made ‘policies’ to fight the said change is real. Damage from man-made climate change will come in the future whereas damage from man-made policies to fight the change will be immediate. Token measures will not result in reduced human carbon dioxide emissions whereas significant reduction cannot happen without affecting large numbers of people in the present. Babbling about future global tail risk would appear dense when parts of the present-day world face ongoing and slow-moving catastrophes now.

Is this controversial? The answer is yes – if you’re trapped in the alarmists’ camp, believe in Nicholas Stern, and imagine like marooned Japanese soldiers that World War II is still raging (see picture above).

Setting aside the skepticism in the first statement, Richard Tol provides an excellent synthesis of the climate change policy debate. It is probably the best you will read for the year. The international climate diplomacy community has invested decades in trying to solve the imaginary climate problem. Whatever the outcome of ‘Paris‘ may be, they are not about to simply disappear with nothing left to do. It is likely the world will need to grapple with the impacts of climate policymakers to come in the foreseeable future. As Paris approaches – the costs will be high, the rhetoric shrill and the crescendo unbearable. Skulduggery and subversion of democracy, guaranteed.

The traffic-addicted AndTheresPhysics has picked up on the article in ham-handed fashion and squirted his wisdom in the usual manner pretending to disagree with Tol while agreeing with nearly all his points. If a recent run-in with the physicist was any indication, it is not clear he understands applying self-punitive carbon dioxide reduction constitutes a real present-day harm, at all.

More bitter bile … and then there’s physics

Following a previous post that was picked up by Bishop Hill, the physicist-climate blogger Andthentheresphysics (ATTP) participated in two long-running threads there with comments running well over 500 in number. The discussions were successful and a plan for world peace was finalized.

On a serious note, it was a good exchange between several commenters. These are qualified professionals and hardened cynics with longstanding interest and strong opinions in climate. This is as good as it can get.

But it was not enough. After having roundly taken part, ATTP has gone back to his blog to bash Bishop Hill and its readers. As I was involved in both discussions, I am partly responsible.

Some background: ATTP banned me from his blog, not once but twice. His actions were replicated by his blog friends. But such actions were not limited – several commenters were serially handed bans one after the other. So history is not beautiful here and not on the physicist’s side. Despite the above, I engaged in both threads and particularly in the second one. The end result is here:

In my opinion Andrew Montford should be ashamed of the site he’s running, of what he promotes on that site, and what he allows people to say in the comments.

Using a blog handle means you can do things one using his own name wouldn’t do—like talking to people across the divide. As someone who kept communicating with ATTP despite repeated rebuffs from him and his moderator, I feel foolish. I don’t know why I tried. For some people sticking the climate knife is more importantI may be a sucker for punishment but good things have to come out at the end. 

Lessons learnt.

Greenpeace Nazca Lines Selfiegate

end greenpeace

Greg Laden, of the Soldiers of the Climate Consensus Brigade, is calling for the ‘end of Greenpeace’. This is his reaction to Greenpeace stomping around the Nazca lines taking pictures, leaving boot-prints and chicken scratches on the ground for posterity to endure.

greenpeace nazca letters-01 - Copy

The key to the mystery of Greg Laden’s reaction is that Greg Laden trained as an anthropologist. In his own words, Laden got a ‘fancy PhD from Harvard in Archaeology and Biological Anthropology’, and  Masters and undergraduate training in anthropology.

So you see when Greenpeace pulled their stunt the monumental stupidity of the act sunk right in. Laden got it right away.

This is not the only act of cultural vandalism in Peru. Earlier, Greenpeace parties visited Macchu Pichu doing banner drops and projection stunts. Craig Rucker of CFACT—one of the few skeptical organizations to attend the COPs—asked Greenpeace leadership about the locals’ reaction to their act:

Teske Machu Picchu-01 - CopyRecognize the person? It is Sven Teske – involved previously in permanently writing Greenpeace’s claims about renewable energy into an IPCC working group 3 report. You could consider it an act of scientific vandalism. When Steve McIntyre worked out Greenpeace’s handiwork he called for the IPCC WG3 to be terminated.

The pattern observed here won’t be lost on Greg Laden.


Is Lima a failure?

One more conference of the parties has ended. As many before, it dragged on beyond the deadline. Richard Tol remarks this is a tactic employed by developed countries and those with bigger budgets. They can afford large delegate contingents who work in shifts, driving the small country one-man army delegates to drop off from exhaustion, boredom and sleep deprivation.

Presumably this makes decision-making in the UN system easier.

Press coverage has been along predictable lines. There is one aspect that goes unsaid: almost everyone notes how each of the COPs result in an utter failure. Christopher Booker notes for example how every conference throws up as a ‘breakthrough’,  ‘a meaningless document that commits no one to anything’.

However we need to be reminded – this is the best thing that can happen. It is a ‘failure’ for the UN climate mechanism sure but it is the world saved for another year. Any other outcome from these COPs would mean that some countries or all countries have taken on a binding agreement to ‘cut carbon’, in other words hurt themselves and their economies. ‘Failure’ for the climate activist fantasy bubble means success for the rest of us.

The setting up transnational energy budgeting regimes with carbon inspection and verification systems would be the final neomalthusian-Orwellian nightmare. It is appalling the US and other developed countries push for such measures. The US and UK may feel compelled by domestic politics to show they are able to extract promises from China, Brazil and India. But was it their original intention to be monitoring how much gas the average Chinese citizen fills up in his car? Western regulatory systems tend to be absolutist. Issues are tackled with rules, frameworks, discipline, enforceability and penalties. Applied to carbon, it paves the way for future wars.

The far more rational approach is pointed out by Nigel Lawson. Instead of punishing oneself with carbon restriction, and then pursuing imposition of such punishment in other countries by various means, Lima should serve as a opportunity to rethink such self-imposed burdens as the Climate Change Act in the UK, or the EPA-mandated carbon rules in the US.

Contrary to developing countries foolish imaginings developed countries need their economies maintained. It is not just comfort and luxury that costs energy. Good governance, strict regulation, clean environments, digging out of snow and staying warm in the cold costs energy too. The so-called developed economies have poor people as well. They walk, travel by train or bus, buy essentials at discount grocery stores and don’t own homes. As Raghuram Rajan identified in Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy , a developed economy with open markets brings prosperity to ten others.

The COPs are the annual ritualized destruction of climate activists harmful ‘hopes’. Let us work to keep them that way. The conferences are expensive, no doubt but think of them as tithe to be paid yearly to the gods of environmentalism. Emerson said ‘experienced men of the world know very well that it is best to pay scot and lot as they go along, and that a man often pays dear for a small frugality.’


[minor edits]

Thanks Realclimate!

Realclimate’s running a post saying they’ve been around for 10 years, thanks etc. They say they are reflecting on their ‘impact’.

On this momentous occasion I want to thank … Realclimate.

In mid 2009, I got involved in an exchange with friends about climate. I followed environmental issues in the past but had kept away from climate. Naively I offered “Al Gore” as argument against climate hype and was roundly beaten back. ‘Oh, it’s all changed now” – I was told. “The science is completely settled, and the Arctic…it has melted away and almost gone”.

Embarrassingly, I was completely unfamiliar with “the science”. Thee question remained in my mind. How had the science changed? How were previous questions so conclusively ‘settled’? What ground-breaking study had accomplished this? What were the key papers that had managed to do it?

Later that year in November when Climategate broke I was at RC, front row seat. This was it – the people who had created some of the ground-breaking fundamental studies, exposed, representing and defending themselves on their own internet forum. The snooty airs of superiority, censorship, the whitewashing and lack of remorse was enough to set me on path to being a ‘climate skeptic’. So thanks, Realclimate.

I don’t think I am the only one with this experience. Paul writes about how he ran into Stefan Rahmstorf at Realclimate who appears to have tipped him over. Judith Curry is a well-known member of the ‘tipped over by RC’ club. You hear the same repeated over and over – almost as if Realclimate were one of the engines of distrust in the online climate world. Commenter Curt at Jeff Id’s blog’s says it:

… First found RealClimate, but it quickly put my internal BS detector into overdrive, both by its technical claims and its general attitude. …

That is the ‘impact’. As Nature reluctantly admitted ‘closing [our] eyes will not make the climate sceptics go away’. To which we can add ‘let alone going away Realclimate is making them everyday’.


The Grimm Letter

David Colquhoun writes in his blog of Stefan Grimm, a professor at Imperial College London who died in September. There is now an email circulating in Grimm’s name which speaks of his troubles with department administration:

In March ’14 I then received the ultimatum email below. 200,000 pounds research income every year is required. Very interesting. I was never informed about this before and cannot remember that this is part of my contract with the College.[…]

But the email below indicates otherwise. I got this after the student for whom I “have plans” received the official admission to the College as a PhD student. He waited so long to work in our group and I will never be able to tell him that this should now not happen. What these guys don’t know is that they destroy lives. Well, they certainly destroyed mine.


The cause of death is not apparent though it came ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’, we are given to learn. Nevertheless, if they had anything to do with it, it is painful to think a professor could be driven to the edge of life from funding pressures. Disturbingly, it means less harmful actions are likely far more common. Many bend, the uncompromising ones break.

When it comes to science one wonders how many labs, careers, and lives have been saved by little frauds and white lies.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »